One of the barriers to game design is a lack of components. If you had blank cards sitting around, you would be more likely to start designing a card game. If you had some dice, you might design a dice game. The point is that if you had game design components available to you, then you are much more likely to move your game designs from the Concept phase to the Prototype/Playtesting phase.
Today I am listing some of the items that I find most useful in putting together a prototype. The hope is that you can find what you need to move your game design along.
Getting to the playtesting phase is often the biggest hurdle, but it’s the critical step in determining if your game design has any potential.
Before I get to my recommendations, which are brief, I want to remind you of the series I wrote about sourcing game design components. These articles are much more thorough:
- Sourcing Components: Cards
- Sourcing Components: Meeples
- Sourcing Components: Chits
- Sourcing Components: Dice
So check those out and then come back here for the basics to get you from the concept phase to the playtesting phase of your game designs.
Here is my checklist of excellent items to have in case you are ready to move from concept to prototype. To make it easier for you I have provided two lists, one for Amazon, and one for EAI Education (my preferred source). This way you can choose one and buy everything you need from one place.
- 100 Assorted Blank 16mm Dice ($18.95)
- 500 Assorted 1cm Cubes ($15.56)
- 500 Blank Playing Cards ($13.50)
- 100 Assorted Mini Meeples 12mm ($25.00)
- 144 Blank White Dice 5/8″ ($19.95)
- 1000 Assorted 1cm Cubes ($16.95)
- 54 Blank Playing Cards ($0.99)
- 30 Playing Pawns (These are ugly but they work) ($0.95)
With cards, dice, meeples, and cubes you are basically ready to roll out your game design prototype. Of course there are other things that you may want, but as for a Game Design Starter Kit I recommend these four items very highly! Please let me know if you have any questions.
Welcome back to Boards and Barley. It’s been 20 days since I last posted anything. Why? Because board gaming stuff is a hobby and not a job (Though if that changed it would be pretty sweet). I love blogging about board game stuff, but when things get really busy this hobby falls to the back seat before anything else. Never-the-less, I’m going to adjust my schedule so that I can continue blogging and sharing tips about homebrewing and designing board games.
One of the first things I want to do is to renovate (i.e., create) a Game Design Page that compiles all of my articles about the game design process. I’ve posted stuff about game design from concept to publication and I think having all that in one place would be really useful.
I also want to start a regular Tuesday article about beer that focuses on a Beer of the Week. I like to try as many new beers as I can and I’d like to share my thoughts about the beer and its style with you.
Another thing that I’ve missed doing are the “Design Me” game design exercises. These are relatively easy to post so I think I’ll try to get back into those. Plus, they are very beneficial for game designers as they help flex your game design muscle.
But today is Monday so let’s check out the Boards & Barley I’ve been enjoying!
NEW! Ale Asylum HuMMMane India Brown Ale
I bought a six pack of this brew at my FLBS (Favorite local beer store) because they were giving away samples and because the proceeds would go to support the local Honor Flight. For those not aware of the Honor Flight program, it is a program that takes war veterans to Washington DC to visit their respective war memorials. Then there are usually nice crowds to welcome the war heroes back home when their airplane lands. With a father who was in the military and with a brother who has served tours of duty in places I would never want to go I am very happy to support the military whenever possible, and the honor flights are a great way to do so.
- Homebrew – Rolling Dubbels Belgian Dubbel
- NEW! Ommegang Hennepin Saison
- NEW! Ommegang Three Philosopher’s Quadrupel
- Duchesse du Bourgoune
- Homebrew – Nobody Plays Brown Brown Ale
- Tyranena Fatal Attaction Imperial Black IPA
- Vintage Brewing Dedication Belgian Dubbel
New Beer Count for 2015: 22
There is a lot of game in this little box. In Harbour players try to manage their resources, ship goods, and buy buildings. There are a lot of interesting decisions to be made while hoping your opponents don’t modify the market and sweep the rug out from under your feet. I’m glad I backed this Tasty Minstrel Games project on Kickstarter.
- NEW! Fidelitas – I thought this game was pretty clever. I played a 2 player game and I enjoyed it. Playing it a second time will be even better know that I have a better idea of how the game is played and what combos exist.
- Concordia (Half of a game)
- Dungeon Roll
- Ticket to Ride
- Ziggurat Playtest
New Board Game Count for 2015: 15
So those are the Boards & Barley that I’ve been enjoying. What have you been enjoying?
My friend Jeremy recently bought me a beer glass on a recent trip. It’s not just any beer glass. It’s different than any other beer glass I’ve seen.
What makes it different is the curvature of the glass. The sides are slightly curved like an Irish Imperial Pint glass. But also the bottom has a nice rounded feature that makes this glass have a very nice feel in your hand.
I have a collection of about 30 pint glasses. I typically prefer the Shaker pint glass style with the straight walled sides. But I like to make exceptions for glasses when they’re awesome. This beer glass from Odell Brewing is awesome.
So today I wanted to write about different beer glass styles including what beer styles go in them. But as I was doing research I found a really nice infographic from a company that sells a hangover product (Revivol). And then I found a second one (from Central Restaurant Products) with a little more info and less graphics. I like them both. So instead of me typing a bunch of stuff, here are two pretty sweet infographics:
It’s gonna be 48 degrees here in Wisconsin today so that’s pretty awesome. Also awesome is that the college basketball tournament is approaching. I love the tournament because the kids playing college basketball put so much heart into it compared to professional sports where it’s more about money. But this website isn’t for writing about sportsball.
So let’s see what Boards & Barley I’ve enjoyed over the last week:
NEW! Snake River Vienna Lager
My friend Jeremy brought these back from a recent trip out west and graciously shared them with us. It was a very enjoyable beer and was characteristic of Vienna Lagers. I’d love to visit the brewery someday. By the looks of their website they’ve got a great brewpub.
- Gray’s 56 Oatmeal Stout
- NEW! Oskar Blues Mama’s Little Yella Pils
- Revolution Anti-Hero IPA
- Homebrew – Rolling Dubbels
New Beer Count for 2015: 19
I had been wanting to play this game by Czech Games Edition for a while and was able to get it to the table at Board Game Night. Alchemists is like Clue except instead of having to figure out three things you need to figure out 8. And instead of having turns where you roll a 1 and move one space through the mansion you can do great stuff every turn. And instead of having the game end by someone making a lucky guess you play 6 rounds.
Alchemists was a ton of fun. The gameplay is great. The theme works really well. The deduction is intense. I lost badly but I seriously enjoyed the game. The only downsides for me were that there’s a pretty steep learning curve. The first play took us three hours. That included the time it took to teach, though. The bottom line was that I thoroughly enjoyed the game and I can’t wait to play Alchemists again.
- NEW! Robinson Crusoe – We got beat so badly that I’ll have to play again just so I can feature it as the BOARDS SPOTLIGHT without feeling like we played so poorly.
- Roll for the Galaxy
New Board Game Count for 2015: 14
Ziggurat is coming along nicely. I have been working on it feverishly so that I can have it ready for Protospiel-Milwaukee in April.
The problem that was mentioned about the game in it’s previous form was that if you weren’t building you were falling behind. And the first to build got the better bonuses so they could build better and faster and become a runaway leader. That was a bummer.
So I’ve come up with a new, more “Euro” system of playing this game. It will turn the game into more of a point-salad, “Feldian” type game, but those are the types of games I enjoy.
The solution I came up with changes the game slightly in that it is mildly less accessible since the learning curve is steeper. However, the game play should be much improved as there are more things to consider on each and every turn. The scoring conditions are also improved. In the previous version the win would all but be known when the game ended. I prefer that players not know who is going to win before the end of the game. This gives all players hope that they might somehow sneak out a victory. So I’ve changed it so that there are a lot more points counted at the end rather than during the game.
Overall I’m really excited about where this is going. I think there’s a lot of potential here. But ultimately, this game is a lot of fun to design.
So that’s what I’ve been up to. What Boards & Barley have you been enjoying?
Today I right a wrong. The wrong is that I’ve never blogged about Craftbeer.com. It is a traveshamockery that will be resolved today.
Why today? Because yesterday my buddy, Brett Myers, tweeted about some new awesomeness:
One of the questions I get asked frequently, and also ask of others, is, “What is your favorite beer style?” I often answer that anything Belgian is my favorite. I love Dubbels, Tripels, Saisons, etc. Then people ask what those are like. I usually mumble something about a floral character and distinct taste. But now I have a sweet resource to which I can refer people.
Craftbeer.com Style Guide
Yesterday Craftbeer.com posted a news release marking the launch of their new Beer Style Guide. This allows people to search for beer styles based on SRM (color), IBU (bitterness), and ABV (alcohol by volume). Here is a glimpse at the style selector:
By adjusting the sliders you can hone in on the styles that fit what you’re looking for.
Clicking on any style brings you to a page with much more information about it. Click here for the Belgian Dubbel page. The information pages are great. They tell you the average ranges for SRM, IBU, and ABV. They show the type of glass in which to serve that style. It’s just pure awesomeness.
In the past when I wanted to learn about beer styles I would visit Beer Advocate. Their style guide is nice and was my go-to source for years. In fact, I will still reference it when I need information regarding American Adjunct Lagers.
Have a great weekend and enjoy a brew or two!